© 2014 The Protein Society. Uracil-DNA glycosylases (UDGs) are evolutionarily conserved DNA repair enzymes that initiate the base excision repair pathway and remove uracil from DNA. The UDG superfamily is classified into six families based on their substrate specificity. This review focuses on the family I enzymes since these are the most extensively studied members of the superfamily. The structural basis for substrate specificity and base recognition as well as for DNA binding, nucleotide flipping and catalytic mechanism is discussed in detail. Other topics include the mechanism of lesion search and molecular mimicry through interaction with uracil-DNA glycosylase inhibitors. The latest studies and findings detailing structure and function in the UDG superfamily are presented.